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Contemporary Issues: Opinion Polls

Selected Polling Data Sources

Public opinion polls can be used to document the mentality or psychology of a time, or of a group (evidence of a world view, a set of attitudes, or the popular understanding of an event or condition). Poll results can be used to bolster an argument or to refute a popular view.
American Demographics
Online version (1987-2004)
Main Library General Collection HB 3505 .A66 (1985-1991)
Microfilm HB 3505 .A66 (1992-2004)
Part of Advertising Age of February 2005. A monthly magazine for marketing and media that provides "an analysis of trends, issues, and events that are shaping...consumer markets" (publisher's note).
The Internet site of The Gallup Organization, which publishes The Gallup Poll and The Gallup Poll Monthly (below). Features the latest in-depth poll analyses and replicas of news stories and press releases linked to the surveys.
The Gallup Poll
Main Library Reference HN 90 .P8 G35 (1935-1978, 1981+)
Presents surveys based on interviews with United States residents. An index, The Gallup Poll Cumulative Index: Public Opinion, 1935-1997 (Main Library Reference HN 90 .P8 G29 1999) is a guide to published surveys from 1935 to 1997.
The Gallup Poll Monthly
Main Library General Collection HM 261 .A1 G34 (1972-2001)
Monthly presentation of interesting public opinion findings.
One of the oldest indpendent polling firms in the U.S. One must register to access the site.
Index to International Public Opinion
Main Library Reference HM 261 .I552 (1978/79- 1998/99)
In two main sections: single nation surveys (arranged by topic and then country), and multinational surveys (divided by geographic area). Each entry lists date and organization responsible for conducting the survey, the sample size, questions and responses (usually in percentages). Indexed by topic, by countries and regions surveyed, and by countries and regions referenced in the surveys.
An independent opinion research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics, and public policy issues. The data achieve contains numerous public surveys conducted since 1997.
A commercial site that purports to provide "an independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion." It lists all recent polls from various sources and compares polls historically.
A nonpartisan, nonprofit public opinion research and citizen education organization that covers issues such as abortion, crime, gambling, illegal drugs, right to die, and more since the 1970s.
Public Opinion Quarterly
Online version (1965+ except last 12 months)
Online version (1937+ except last 5 years)
Main Library General Collection HM 261.A1 P8 (1937-2007)
The official journal of the American Association for Public Opinion Research includes comprehensive and diverse coverage on such issues as political tolerance, holocaust denial, public policy, race and the police, political rhetoric and persuasion, and affirmative action.
The site of one of the nation's leading non-profit, non-partisan public opinion data archives. Includes links to the magazine, Public Perspective, which has a number of articles available online.
A site maintained by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland — College Park.

Search Tip

One of the best ways to find a summary of opinions, polls, and surveys is to use the LexisNexis Academic database and in the "News" search screen enter the words "poll or survey" along with the your topic. Read the newspaper article, then try to find the original poll or survey from the polling or survey entity listed to the left of this box.